ABC Blog

Avoid Large Irrigation Bills This Summer with These 5 Easy Tips

Stop pouring water and money down the drain

Thanks to the arid Texas weather, it’s often necessary to install an irrigation system that keeps your landscape looking good. However, this system may cost a fortune to operate. Here are five easy tips to help you keep irrigation expenses down this summer.

1. Run the Sprinkler in the Morning

Early in the day, the temperature is cool and wind is usually at a minimum, which means that less water will be lost from evaporation. Watering your plants at night can cause diseases to form on leaves and roots. Most often this is a problem in a humid climate like Texas.

2. Check for Leaks

If water appears to be running onto your sidewalks after your sprinkler has been turned off, there may be a leaky valve in your system. This can cause a great increase in irrigation bills because water is constantly running. Many times this … Read Full Post »

When Weeds Attack: How to Handle Perennial Nuisances

Like many noble pursuits, cultivating a great-looking lawn takes hard work and patience. Unfortunately, the variable climate of Central Texas often gets in the way. Try as you might, you probably find it difficult to completely eradicate weeds and invasive plants from the managed areas of your property. It’s especially difficult to get rid of weeds that closely resemble your lawn’s planted grasses.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the toughest weeds in the Bryan-College Station area and offer some tips about dealing with them.

Annual Bluegrass

Annual bluegrass is a truly pernicious weed. Since it’s related to Kentucky bluegrass, a popular covering for golf courses and other high-traffic areas, it’s a rugged, hearty breed that closely resembles common lawn grasses. You can tell annual bluegrass from its “good” perennial cousin by its tendency to form thick, unruly clumps and the slight curvature of its blades. Annual bluegrass is also a bit … Read Full Post »

Pests That Invade and Annoy All Year Round

It’s hard enough to deal with a temporary pest infestation, but many Central Texas homeowners have to face pests that invade and annoy all year long. Unfortunately, the mild climate and rich biodiversity of this region creates a welcoming environment for many household and yard pests that don’t need to hibernate or die off during cool or dry periods. Fortunately, dealing with year-round pests isn’t much different from dealing with seasonal pests. We’ve identified some of the most common year-round pests below.

Plus-Size Rodents: Brown Rats

There are several different types of “objectionable” rodents. Among the most common—and most off-putting—is the brown rat. With characteristic brown fur and beady eyes, the brown rat can grow to more than a foot in length. In the relatively warm climate of Central Texas, these creatures don’t hibernate or go dormant. Early signs of an infestation may include scratching or squealing within your walls, basement crevices … Read Full Post »

Selecting Trees for Your Lawn

Planting, Trimming and Nurturing in a Tough Climate

We’re partial to the Bryan-College Station area, so we never hesitate to call attention to the attributes that make its lawns and landscapes so beautiful. At the same time, we recognize that the weather here can offer serious challenges for homeowners who want to keep their properties looking great all year long. From crushing droughts and searing summer temperatures to unexpected fall freezes and soaking spring thunderstorms, these four tree species are adept at handling the region’s variable climate.

Texas Ash

The Texas ash is a hardy tree that grows well in most soils and provides a brilliant color display in November or early December. While it prefers well-drained upland areas, it can tolerate slightly sandy soils as well. For maximum effect, plant young trees after the last frost and provide plenty of water. Although the Texas ash grows rapidly during its early life, its … Read Full Post »

Built to Last: How the Bed Bug Got Its Groove Back

Though they were thought absent from the U.S. for the past 50 years, bed bugs have made a big comeback across the nation. Much to the chagrin of travelers and homeowners, these pests can establish colonies quickly. For homeowners in the Bryan-College Station area, getting rid of these troublesome pests can seem impossible. Before you tackle a bed bug infestation, you’ll need to know a little about how this pest is built.

Why Are Bed Bugs So Hard to Eliminate?

One of the big reasons bed bugs have shown up in the news so much recently is that they’re very difficult to get rid of once they’ve established a colony. It’s the bed bug’s unique anatomy that allows this pest to establish itself so quickly and cause problems for homeowners.

These flat, oval-shaped, reddish-brown bugs often make their way into homes via the luggage and clothing of travelers. Once they reach maturity, bed … Read Full Post »

Infestations 101: Managing Bed Bugs

The idea of having blood-sucking creatures in your bed certainly isn’t a pleasant one, but that’s exactly what happens when a bed bug infestation hits. Fortunately, educating yourself about these pesky insects and learning more about how to manage them can help you eliminate your bed bug problem.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are tiny, wingless creatures with flat bodies. They range in color from white to brown, but they take on a reddish hue after feeding. These creatures prefer to live in mattresses and bedding, and they typically hide during the day and become more active at night. Bed bugs aren’t known for spreading diseases, but they give off itchy bites. Not only are these bites uncomfortable, but some people are also allergic to them.

Do You Have a Bed Bug Infestation?

There are a few things to look for to determine if you have a bed bug infestation in your home:

• … Read Full Post »

Is Your Landscaping Drought-Resistant?

Although a beautiful landscape may not be easy to create, almost everyone recognizes one. A perfectly green lawn, full shrubs, majestic trees and gorgeous flowers are among the pretty plantings that most people would think of as part of an attractive landscape. However, maintaining that beauty comes at an environmental price that just isn’t compatible with the green way more and more people are attempting to live today. The large amounts of water and fertilizer that often go into lush landscapes are an environmental nightmare. Now people who want a fabulous landscape without the environmental impact are turning to drought-resistant landscaping.

While drought-resistant gardening involves a variety of practices, the main idea is to design a pleasant landscape that uses the least amount of resources. Since Bryan-College Station sets the eco-friendly landscaping trends in the region, you might want to consider ways to make your landscaping more drought-resistant. In the end, … Read Full Post »

Landscaping That Does More than Look Good

Tropical plants are renowned for their lush colors, but that beauty comes at a steep price for homeowners who maintain them. Some thirsty flowers like Iris pseudacorus require standing water, which is extremely costly in Bryan-College Station during the summer. If you’re looking to practice sustainable gardening, reduce water and energy consumption whenever possible.


Most people who mulch prefer organic materials like bark chips and pine needles, but you can choose rubber, cardboard, or stone if you don’t want to reapply mulch every year. When applied to an entire flower bed, mulch presents a beautiful, uniform look, and it helps keep the edges clean. Weeds have more difficulty growing up from the soil through several inches of mulch.

Mulch also reduces soil evaporation, so you don’t have to irrigate as often. According to one research project presented at Texas A&M, mulch reduces water evaporation by 25%, which could save you thousands of … Read Full Post »

Living with Wildlife Instead of Fighting a Losing Battle

Imagine that you spray your foundation monthly, but the bugs keep returning. After years of work and gallons of insecticide, the strategy hasn’t helped. With pesticide-resistant bugs and environmental contamination in the news, experts have realized that chemical weapons aren’t always the best method for managing pests. This knowledge isn’t entirely new. Scientists have been developing integrated pest management (IPM) techniques for more than 50 years. IPM is a pest control philosophy that combines several different approaches to keep pests at acceptable levels. These strategies can be used to manage lawns, landscape plants and household pests.

Whether we like it or not, pests are part of the local ecosystem. In some cases, they help control other bugs. In other cases, they provide food for other species. Instead of using a blanket approach to eradicate every living bug within your property lines, IPM focuses on ways to adjust the natural balance. Here’s … Read Full Post »

5 Tips for Irrigation: Save Water and Money!

Remember when you were a kid and you had no idea that the lush, green lawn where you played baseball and turned cartwheels all summer took so much upkeep? Forget about mowing—the mere cost of watering the lawn is a surprise to many homeowners. Some homeowners are wasting water (and money) by using irrigation incorrectly. Have you ever gone for a walk in your neighborhood and dodged the sprinkler that was watering the street? How many people in your neighborhood have their irrigation system on constantly, even on a rainy day? There are ways to keep your lawn and garden from wilting without draining your bank account. Here are five:

1. Water wisely. Watering your lawn and garden efficiently doesn’t have to mean purchasing expensive equipment or becoming a self-sustaining hippie commune. Two habits that can help you conserve water are watering in the early morning and keeping the water where … Read Full Post »